Cholesterol Home > Cholesterol Lowering Diet

Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes are important parts of a diet to lower cholesterol, with reduced amounts of animal-based products (such as meat, poultry, egg yolks, and dairy products). There is also a focus on reducing saturated fats and trans fat. If you are following this kind of diet, no more than 7 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from saturated fat.

Cholesterol Lowering Diet: An Overview

Dietary changes are usually one of the first things recommended for people with high cholesterol. These eating plans are low in saturated fat and low in cholesterol. A cholesterol lowering diet should meet the following criteria:
  • Total fat intake -- 25 to 35 percent of the day's total calories
  • Saturated fat intake -- Less than 7 percent of daily calories
  • Dietary cholesterol -- Less than 200 mg per day
  • Salt intake -- Less than 2,400 mg per day.
Following this diet also means:
  • Eating only enough calories to maintain a healthy weight
  • Increasing the amount of soluble fiber in your diet from sources such as kidney beans, apples, and oatmeal
  • Adding cholesterol lowering foods to your diet (such as margarines containing plant stanols or plant sterols).

Dietary Strategies That Can Help Lower Cholesterol

When considering a diet to lower cholesterol, there are two important factors to remember:
  • Cholesterol is only found in animal-based foods (such as meats and dairy products)
  • Certain fats have also been shown to increase cholesterol, whether or not they came from an animal.
Given these factors, a diet to decrease cholesterol should call for:
  • Eating more foods with no cholesterol (plant-based products)
  • Cutting back on foods from animals
  • Decreasing saturated fat and trans fat intake.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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